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Stiff Little Fingers: Song by Song Paperback – Illustrated, 6 Oct 2003
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The band that put Northern Irish music on the map, giving disaffected youth in Belfast a voice to the troubles that were tearing the province apart. Stiff Little Fingers (SLF) were a seminal band who tore up the rule book on how a band were "supposed" to get a record deal and achieve chart success. This is a song-by-song guide to the most successful punk band ever to leave Belfast. Told in his own words, singer and songwriter Jake Burns gives the whole story behind the group and how they became the first band to get an independent album into the national Top 40. DJ John Peel praises them as the band that opened the door for other Irish bands to follow such as U2 and the group are still filling major venues and recording new material. This overview covers all the songs written from 1976 to 2003 and recounts the history of the group from Highway Star to current solo tours, via (of course) Stiff Little Fingers. It looks at all personnel, past and present, how they met and how they parted and provides an account of the three different managers of their career and Jake's "solo" group Jake Burns & The Big Wheel.
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Where the book is somewhat different to the usual hagiography is that it takes each song on their impressive list of albums and explains the background to them, the motivation for writing them, and associated anecdotes. By skilfully blending in background history and fans' comments on their favourite songs, the book achieves a clear structure without seeming mechanical in its approach. There's plenty of humour (like the time they were foolishly invited to a Newcastle radio station and asked to comment on some pap by the dread mock-classical group Sky) and some SLF myths exploded.
A book to be bought and read and reread by everyone who remembers the original punk explosion - especially if they're not aware of the excellent rock albums the band continues to produce since reforming.
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